What Makes a Great Organisation?

We've all heard it before, they are a great company to work for. So what makes a great company?

Although I have only been working in the private sector for little over a year, I have been fortunate enough to have worked in many organisations.  Here's what I have found so far about the truly great companies;

  1. They genuinely care for their people. They don't refer to them as employees, workers, or staff, they always refer to their 'people'.
  2. An initial sign of a great culture is the interactions between Team Leaders and Managers with their people.  As an example, supervisory staff attend the same workshops as their people and the people have no concerns whatsoever about being honest in front of their supervisor. 
  3. Often I watched as managers engaged with each of their team members regardless of how busy they were with their own work, genuinely wanting to know about the person they were talking with. 
  4. The organisation targets the training to the genuine needs of their people. They identify weaknesses and look to strengthen these with a variety of training content.
  5. They look to outside of the organisation for support. This avoids closed-thinking and the silo effect.
  6. Their supervisors and managers are humble. By example, when I thanked a manager for promoting my work across the entire company she told me not to be silly.  In her words, I delivered a great program and the work enabled me to build my business while at the same time their organisation built the skills of their team to cope with tricky situations and as a result became stronger individuals.  
  7. They take a holistic approach to everything. To make the workplace enjoyable;
  • There are numerous breakout rooms for meetings and quiet time.
  • Light refreshment areas are placed across the floors immediately adjacent to the workspace for tea and coffee.
  • Healthy snack options are provided free of charge.
  • They run sponsorship and fundraising events for team building.
  • Photos and pictures from workplace interactions and competitions adorn the walls in an ordered fashion.
  • They allow anonymous suggestions.
  • Regular one-on-one meetings are held with every employee.
  • They maintain a clean and tidy office.
  • They have televisions located in some areas showing a news channel.

There is a wonderful saying that our Maori people have - "He aha te mea nui? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata." Translated this says "What is the most important thing?  It is people, it is people, it is people." Sometimes we all need to be reminded of this.